Guatemala to hold vote recount over poll fraud allegations

Guatemala City (AFP) –


Guatemala will hold a total vote recount after fraud allegations in the wake of last Sunday's presidential and legislative elections, the country's Supreme Electoral Court announced Thursday.

Court president Julio Solorzoano told journalists in the Central American country that he had ordered a recount to "clarify disagreements."

Speaking at a news conference, Solorzoano said the recount would begin on Monday.

Center-left former First Lady Sandra Torres leads the presidential poll with 25.7 percent of the vote, ahead of conservative Alejandro Giammattei, with 14 percent.

Both had been expected to contest the August 11 run-off round before Thursday's announcement.

The leftist Movement for the Liberation of Peoples -- whose candidate Thelma Cabrera came fifth in the presidential race -- denounced "evident electoral fraud."

Solorzoano said he had invited Cabrera and her party to the court to check her complaint.

The tumultuous campaign to succeed outgoing President Jimmy Morales saw two leading candidates barred from taking part in the poll and the country's top electoral crimes prosecutor flee the country after threats.

Disturbances broke out Thursday in several municipalities where mayoral candidates rejected the results.

A lawmaker from Morales' FCN-Nacion party, Estuardo Galdamez, went on social media to condemn electoral fraud and said the country was on the brink of becoming a "dictatorship" under Torres' Unity of Hope party.

Election monitors from the Organization of American States (OAS), led by former Costa Rican president Luis Guillermo Solis, had signed off on the results.

One person died and nine police officers were wounded in disturbances that followed the polls last Sunday.